Most first-time buyers of Electric Unicycle will typically narrow their choices between one of three 14″ Wheels from the recognized manufacturers King Song, Solowheel, & Segway.
The Segway S1:
The Segway S1 was released shortly after Ninebot’s acquisition of Segway in April 2015. It was intended to be a successor to the popular Ninebot E+—the E+ gained a strong following in the Electric Unicycle world with it’s futuristic looks & innovations like Bluetooth App, but being a three-year-old Wheel, the dated specifications & lacklustre performance are now outpaced by newer 16″ Wheels. Ninebot had used the Segway brand for the new S1.
Solowheel Glide 2:
To the online shopper, Solowheel’s Glide 2 may appear to have more than a passing resemblance to the Inmotion V5F & he would be correct. The Solowheel Glide 2 is simply a rebranding from the Inmotion V5F, but now commands a significantly higher sticker price than the $695 Wheels sold the V5F at, until the Summer of 2017, when Solowheel took over sole US Distribution rights of the Inmotion Electric Unicycles. Our experience during the period we sold that Wheel, was that that this was sprightly, attractive Wheel, but lacked the power to support a Rider load exceeding 170lb with enough safety margin. The Wheel was prone to a higher than average board failure rate.
King Song 14D:
King Song’s 14D is the new kid on the block. It’s an evolutionary advance on two earlier generations, the KS14B, & KS14C. These earlier Wheels were innovative for their time, but also had serious design flaws which limited their popularity. Evaluating the three contestants on a technical superiority basis, there is no question that the 14D outperforms the other two Wheels in practically every criteria.
- Cruising Speed: the King Song 14Ds cruising speed around 4MPH faster than the V5F & galloping 6MPH faster than the Ninebot S1. While the Inmotion V5F has a rated cruising speed of 15.5MPH, when you approach the 13-14MPH mark, the pedals will violently pitch upwards to alert you to slow down. On the King Song, the pedal tilt-back is much more slow, progressive, reducing the chances of a cardiac arrest from shock.
- Battery Capacity/Estimate Range: at the same speed, nearly all Electric Unicycles yield similar Watt-hour to Mile, which 20Wh/Mile, assuming a 170lb Rider on level flat terrain at 13mph cruising speed. Using this formula, the King Song has around a 21 mile range, while the V5F/Glide 2 is 16 miles, followed by the Segway S1 at 15 miles.
- Motor Power: in 2017 we’ve seen many Electric Unicycles dramatically increase in motor power, especially the larger diameter 16-18″ Wheel. In the 14″ class, as a Rider you’ll feel the 800W motor feels significantly more sure footed, tends to struggle in climbs, than the previous generation 450W & 500W motors that are in the Solowheel Glide 2 & Segway S1. The power equation requires that the Wheel has an appropriate number of batteries, a control-board that provide a suitable amount of peak power when called for & a motor that can transform this energy into motive force. Of these three Wheels under consideration, only the King Song 14D excels in delivery the complete power package.
- Max Rider Weight: in essence this is just an extension of the Wheel’s power, a 450W motor is not fit to carry a >200lb Rider. There’s a few other considerations like the motors axle diameter & bearings. The KS14D has been fitted with a thicker diameter axle to support Riders up to 240lb.
- Extendable Handle: allows you to transport the Wheel without having to pick up & carry. Inmotion/Solowheel have adopted a bolt-on foldable handle design that screws into the top of the Wheel. King Song’s 14D is integrated right into the body of the Wheel. It sports a high-strength magnesium handle with a button that smartly locks into to place, so that it can also be carried as well as shuttled around . At the time of this writing, the S1 does not have a handle accessory.
- Ride Comfort: there are a number of aspects that determine what a Wheel is like to ride. The Inmotion/Solowheel Glide 2 is incredibly thin, but this is offset by a steep inward banking angle of the pedals, contributing to excessive foot & leg discomfort over long rides. Because the Segway’s S1 has no side padding, Riders have often complained that there is a sense of unease in not being able to find a suitable riding foot position, where the legs are able to take control the Wheel as would normally be the case with a bit of foam or padding. On the King Song 14D, there seem the be a good balance between pedal padding, Wheel width, large foot supports, which in one way or another, the other two Wheels lack.
- Integrated BT Speakers: another unique feature of the King Song 14D, are the four speakers (2 per side) that can pump out a decent volume of your favourite tracks on-the-go.
- Front Rear Lighting: essential if planning to use your Wheel in the dark. Integrated into the V5F/Glide 2 & the King Song 14Ds body, there are no front/rear lights on the Segway S1. Again the advantage of pushing the technological envelope is handed to King Song, where the top of the Wheel is fitted with a light sensor so that the headlight automatically turns on as it begins to get dark.
- LED Effects: the Segway S1 has a ring of multi-color LED lights around the sides of the Wheel. Inmotion/Solowheel also has visual effect lighting, a pair of red/blue LEDs on the front & rear, these are more subdued & low-key than the S1. On the 14D it takes the side LEDs one step further, where with the latest version of the App, you can Customize not only the color but the effect as well.
- USB Charging: on the opposite side to the charging port, you’ll find another flap with a 2A fast USB charging socket to charge your phone or other electronics.
- Wheel Weight: all of these extras that the KS14D possess come as the slightly higher weight than the other two Wheels, but the retractable handle means there’s very few situations where you’ll find yourself having to carrying the Wheel around.
Specifications, performance charts & features may give an indication of how good